I'll tell you all what I did ... After our Toronto concerts, I sent a little package to André and Marjorie for our Chinese New Year (Feb. 2008). I told them normally we put money in the little "red packets" to symbolize good fortune, but I'd put in something money can't buy, i.e. the happiness and memories we gained from those few days in Toronto. At the back of each picture, I had a little explanation. I guess they found my notes pretty encouraging, and so they kindly put them up on the board.
Having the "Serenata" as our most favourite CD for 20 years (I always played it with our "audioless" black & white home movies from the 50's and 60's), I was ashamed of not re(discovering) André's DVDs until Sep 2006 (when I heard someone's playing Serenata in PBS). I explained that I wasn't a rich Mercedes Benz owner, but I got a leased vehicle at employee discount. While people are normally proud of the car itself, I'm much more proud of my license plate, the only "A RIEU" in British Columbia!
My parents and I had never been to any concerts out of town. My dad said "Let's celebrate my 80th birthday in Toronto!". (Look at my dad and we knew we did the right thing). He had a very happy birthday weekend (still good-looking at 80 :D) and we made friends coming from different countries.
I asked my aunt, uncle and cousin to go see the concert, they live in Toronto. My aunt almost wouldn't let my uncle go as he had a stroke earlier, had to carry a pouch for "pee-pee", and had to use a walker. Eventually my aunt was convinced and finally they did go. My aunt was happy with her flag too. Before the concert, my uncle got into his seat on wheelchair but he was feeling super that evening and after the concert he even walked back from the floor section climbing all the stairs and to the hotel without a wheelchair!! They had a marvellous time!
Me and Lyndall from Australia, (we discovered that we share the same birthday!) ~ My Dad and I were holding the banner during encores though. I will never forget the expression on André's face. He saw it, he smiled while playing his violin and raised his eyebrows (as if he was surprised to see something so big other than Bannerman's famous products). That "one second look" from him was worth all the extra effort we went thru' in baggage check! (the sticks were too long and so the banner was treated as oversized luggage).
And The Puppy! Pierre was born 1981, the same year I left my parents in Hong Kong and went to Halifax for school. Thinking that Pierre loves dogs, I sent him a plush toy pug. It breathes like real dog (by battery). Pierre, must have loved the puppy enough that they took a picture of it and used it as the wallpaper on the computer! I also mentioned in my note that his (Pierre) building the Castle in 5 days is the World's 8th Wonder!! ~ Alice
You can see the arrows pointing to Alice's pictures on the photo above of Andrés wall in his Maastricht Studios ....
♦The Harmony Parlor With André Rieu